> 'Put 'er there.' June 07 2012

That's what Daddy used to say to me.

"Put 'er there."

He'd stride into the room after work with his coat hooked over his shoulder.  He'd hold out his hand and wait for me to shake it.


No limp noodle hands allowed, not even from a little girl.

"This is important," he would say, and I went along with it, gradually learning the "right" way to grip a palm, how to squeeze it like I mean it.

This came back a few days ago, on a delivery day. It was a new stop, a restaurant in West Nashville, where I took an order of bulk honey to the back supply room. One of the chefs was there to confirm the order, and he held out his hand.

I shook it, and he reared back a little and smiled.

"Now that's a man-shake!" he said.

I laughed and we talked about the value of a good handshake. He related an experience in Alaska when he offended a burly woman by offering a wimpy handshake.

I told him I also can't stand the little polite clasps some men offer me. I also get a kick out of shaking someone's hand, finding it limp, then feeling it tighten immediately when they realize a "real" handshake was expected.

How telling.

Of all the lessons my dad taught me, this is one I recall frequently as a small business owner. Handshakes are important. With that immediate contact of skin and pressure, I learn a lot about my customers — and they about me — right off the bat.

So, if a parents' merits are judged by the behaviors they manage to cultivate in their kids, I guess Daddy gets some big credit this Father's Day. He'll be getting a shipment of our spring honey and Beeswax Rub, two of his favorites.

He also might like to know that — every so often — I stride into the living room, corner my daughter and say, "Put 'er there."

Some things are worth passing along.